^ Our cabin on the cruise ship was a perfect mash-up between Asian aesthetic and Western comfort.
But I didn't care.
The ship's spacious top deck, drenched in glorious sunshine, and its overhead rigging, snapping in the wind brought my senses into full sailing mode.
I was not impressed.
We stopped by an island to explore some caves and look down on our vessel, the Victory Star, from a bird's eye view.
I was unfazed, to say the least.
Because all I wanted to do on my two-day cruise to Halong Bay was stare out at those rugged green jewels and feast my eyes on the endless kaleidescope of their beauty as we slowly passed between them.
Words do nothing to convey their beauty.
Even photographs, worth a thousand words each, capture only the slightest hint of their beauty.
^ To drift among them in the morning mist, as their watercolored grey fades from dark to light on the distant horizon.
^ To see them explode with color and definition as the clouds part and the sun shines upon them, illuminating every detail.
^ To kayak up to the very base of them, running our fingers across the rough limestone and marveling at the majesty of just one of the two thousand islands that dot these mysterious jade waters.
(Okay I didn't risk taking my camera in the kayak but trust me, we were much closer than this view from atop the ship.)
^ To watch the sea turn gold as the setting sun dropped to the horizon and the entire world seemed at peace.
* * * * *
These are the only things I wanted to do on my visit to Halong Bay. And they alone made my first day among the islands absolutely perfect.